Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Flexible New Deal - interesting Guardian article

This Guardian article about Flexible New Deal with an interview with the founder of the company with the large contracts raised some interesting points. It was good that she acknowledged that "the outgoing, one-size-fits-all, classroom-based formula central to earlier government New Deal employment programmes" didn't work and "If you are coming on FND, it means that other interventions in the past year have not worked. You will find there will be multiple issues. That person might come with a lot of aggression, or exceptionally low self-esteem and no confidence. Unless the adviser deals with that first, then pretty much everything else we do is wasted." The comments on the article aren't too optimistic though.

I'm not one of the "more difficult cases also needing drug addiction treatment or lack of basic skills", low self-esteem and confidence yes, that's part of the condition of Asperger, yet my overall capability of work is so clearly there, just for that one issue of employers' typical requirements for good communication skills in jobs I could otherwise do well, therefore despite what I can do well I'm still not their first choice of person, get rejected, and ever closer to the time I'll have to go on this programme. It needs the provider to actively sell me to the company, I'll be all for it if they can do just that.

I found the article as a result of following this blog, which had a link.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The disability in applications issue latest

The three day course at college finished today, the issue of when to state my disability in applications came up with one of the tutors. Jobcentre staff had agreed it was actually good to be upfront because that ties in with making the employer aware that there are grants available to them and the option of Work Trial, while the tutor said a definite no, don't say it until interview because at first letter stage it is just sell, sell, sell.

I was also rather hacked off, when I was talking to the tutor on the course, about why I should not have contact with customers and suppliers, this other colleague (not involved in the course but just there in the office) cut me off mid sentence with a rather abrupt "you have to toughen up and learn to deal with it." That is easy for her and perhaps many people to say, but I felt very patronised, given that she had only met me that moment on that day and did not have first hand knowledge of the situations I'd been in. I put this in writing to the co-ordinator, probably nothing will be said, but it is in writing on the college e-mail system, if it happens again I certainly won't let it drop.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The first morning of college course and very short job interview

Well I've just got back from the VERY short interview, upon arrival in reception, I was given this page of the job specification, showing lots of phone contact with customers and suppliers. I spoke up that I was daunted by it, as said on the previous post, I'd said about my disability in the letter. They appeared to have completely overlooked that, I could understand not being shortlisted in their situation if there was not the manpower to allocate the communication aspects, why was I actually interviewed? Such a short interview, must have taken all of 5 minutes, probably the shortest I've ever had, I felt irritated but knew I must still thank them for their time and leave on the best terms possible, and to say that I would like to be considered for temp work if they had any peak times to require someone to do data entry without contact with customers.

I've also got the first morning of the "Employability Skills" course at college to talk about, it was mainly spent listening and being given handouts. This was somewhere I would have actually appreciated a bit more time for one to one discussion of barriers to work. Plenty of the usual talk about selling oneself in an interview but what does someone in my situation do? This selling oneself does not come naturally. Another thing about being back in college, looking at the 16-18 year old full time students messing about and being loud mouthed reminded me why I really would not want to work in the education environment unless it was the absolute last resort.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

An interview - have they read my letter correctly this time?

Well there goes the postie, just delivered a letter from a local seeds company I wrote to last week about an admin job. Expected it to be the usual rejection letter, but no, I've actually got an interview on Monday 21st, funnily enough the day I'm starting the "employability skills" at college. Interview is at 2pm, should be able to explain I'll be leaving college early, after all its for the reason they want.

The catch, well the advert stated they do want reception work, it was the usual dilemma, that if I didn't write I wouldn't get enough applications out for the job centre, but if I do I'd have to admit I wouldn't be suited to that reception side. So I'd included the crucial sentence 'I would admit I would not be suited to the reception aspect as I do have a moderate condition of the communication disability of Asperger's Syndrome', hopefully they actually read this unlike that company I went to in April.

Somehow I just can't quite feel excited I've got the interview, I know I should, but I've just had so many knocks, and this "have they read my letter correctly" thing. Still it does make a change to even get to interview stage of late.

Can only cross fingers!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Just found ....

... .this other blog about New Deal, where the writer with a university degree set out to initially see it as an opportunity for retraining to improve job prospects, but was told that the only course available was something called ‘basic employability training’.

Also another forum Welfarewatch about the Channel 4 programme on over the last three weeks with the "salesman" type consultants.

Friday, 4 September 2009

College course dates for first part

Well, following the Flexible New Deal meeting, the woman from college, who remembered me from before, rang today for starting a 3 day course (common to all the "Learn a New Skill" courses), of Employability Skills on the Monday (that is CVs, interviews etc, pretty much repeating what I did on "Routeways" I suppose), First Aid on Tuesday (that could be useful to me as I've never done it before but employers often like folks to have it), and Microsoft Office on Wednesday (Word's the only part I use at home, so wouldn't mind the refresher). I did have quite a rapport with the woman in question and actually had laughs catching up on phone, as she said there'd be people on this course in various situations but all in the same boat as regards being unemployed.

Benefit Busters episode 3 - the contrast

Watched episode 3 last night. Quite a contrast, you'd got the one young lad with his self-inflicted injury from drunken high jinks in Turkey, but really felt for one woman with long term depression and the elderly ex painter, they really WANTED to work but were feeling like I do, would any employer take them on?

Had another bad early waking morning at 4am, which hasn't helped put me in the best mind for going to the job club. I will say the people where I did "Flexible Routeways" (just one was a tad agressive but he fortunately left partway through my time) were a lot more human than those shown in this series, who were target driven "sales" types.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

More New Deal conversations on "IndusDelta"

Two more interesting threads about New Deal on the forums on "IndusDelta":
"Benefit busters 2nd episode" about the programme I referenced and "arguments" about the particular provider company.

Even more interesting was this thread about the mental health of long term unemployed.